This morning I was able to go to the church service in the hospital. It was unlike any church service you or I have ever experienced! There was such freedom to shout and jump and dance for joy in the presence of the Lord. I have no idea what we were singing. I’m not even entirely sure what language we were singing in, Kituba maybe, it didn’t matter. We were all singing to the same King.
It is truly one of the most amazing things I have gotten to do since arriving at the Africa Mercy. Today was particularly special for me because I was able to attend with the 11 year old orthopedic patient who I have gotten to be friends with. Her face lit up when I walked into her ward and said that I was there to go to church with her. She saw my Bible and started pouring over the English words. When she was ready to go she grabbed her crutches and started powering down the hall to the empty ward that is used for the service. There were two seats right up front for us. She then insisted that I get her the two Maracas (perhaps there are called something else in Africa but they looked like Maracas) and held onto them in eager anticipation.
I think what happened next meant the most to me. Some of the young orthopedic patients are not well enough yet to walk on their own or are still getting used to their casts and crutches. One by one these little ones were carried into the service and seated on chairs right up front with extra chairs to rest their feet on. The picture was beautiful. It reminded me of two things. First, the story in Mark 2 when the paralyzed man was lowered through the roof by his friends so he could hear and be healed my Jesus. But second, it reminded me of Luke 18:16 which says, “But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’”
I looked around and saw these children with big smiles and wide eyes as we all praised our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is why any of us are here. Yes, we are here to bring healing but we are here to bring hope as well. Hope in a future that is in heaven. Hope that when the bones and muscles and wounds heal and these patients leave this ship that we will all be together again once more praising our Father in heaven. French, English, Kituba, Lingala, languages never heard under this sun – we will join together and praise His name. I am forever grateful for this little piece of heaven I got to experience this morning.